Egypt Day 8 by Maia Coen

Nile cruise breakfast buffet Today I was able to sleep in.  Thank god.  I made my way down to the lower deck for breakfast at the leisurely hour of 8:30.  There was no one else there.  The breakfast station was the same as it had been for the last few days.  Lots of fruit selections, an assortment of pastries, and an omelet station.  I learned early on that you should never take a pastry without poking it with a fork first.  If you don’t do that you might end up eating a rock for breakfast.  I had my omelet made up and picked a sufficiently soft pastry and sat down to eat by myself.


We left the boat at 9:00 to visit Philae temple.  It took us about 15 minutes to get to the landing area for motor boats.  We all piled onto a boat while the many two-stroke engines spewed exhaust.


My father, trying to lighten the mood caused by the obnoxious fumes, paraphrased apocalypse now: “Ah the smell of two-stroke in the morning.  It smells like… victory.” We all got a laugh, between gulps of tainted air.  It did not take long to arrive at the island and soon we were listening to Hoda’s history lessons.  At this point I was very “templed” out.  The temple was lovely but, after 4 days of temples, it looked like all the others.  So we wandered around a bit and took our photos but we were all done quickly.

dock chaos

We regrouped to board the boat again but found ourselves in a long line.  The dock was littered with people of all kinds.  Peddlers selling their items, tourists trying to figure out where to go, and exasperated tour guides trying to guide their people to the right vessel.  The boats were battling for space at the dock.  They banged up against each other and the dock.  Some forced their way through scraping up against other boats in the process.  Ours remained in the same place throughout all of this.  It sat in apparently perfect position for us to board but no one was allowed on.  Our captain passively let other boats bump up against ours.  We stayed patiently in our line as other groups pushed past to board their rides.  There was no discernable organization and seemingly no reason that we should not be allowed to board our boat.  After quite a while of standing in the heat and getting shoved by other tourists Hoda gave us a signal and we were able to get on.  There was no perceivable shift in the position of the boat or indication of what had changed.  That’s Egypt for you.

Boarding our felucca

After some free time on the cruise ship we departed and got on yet another boat.  This boat was called a Felucca, a traditional sail boat, and it was more for enjoying the Nile than transportation.  The sail went up and we all settled in for a relaxing cruise on the river.  We drifted along lazily and enjoyed each other’s company.  In about an hour we arrived at a Nubian village on a little island in the Nile.  We had a little village tour with a local guide and settled down at a Nubian coffee shop.  We sat and drank hibiscus tea and Nubian coffee.

henna hands

A woman came and did henna for all the woman who wanted it and our guide told us a bit about the Nubian culture.  We were carted back to our cruise ship after dark on a speedier motor boat.  I thought the evening had been nice and calm and the Felucca ride was a real highlight.